I’ve been tinkering around with the tutorial mission, using it as a test-bed for ship designs, but I’ve noticed a few things.
Mainly, I noticed the enemy AI picking off ships that allow them to screw up my fleet the most, while my ships seem intent on doing the opposite.
Here’s what I mean: I put in two frigates as an experiment (I can do the mission with three frigates, haven’t quite gotten two frigs to do it yet). One’s built to rush in close and dish out punishment while sucking up damage with it’s shields. The other is built to be a sniper, hanging back and banging away with high-powered weapons. The sniper’s not built to take a beating, but then, that’s not what it’s designed to do. So what happens when the fight starts? Well, my rusher goes in and does his job, the sniper hangs back, and the enemy AI aims right at my sniper. Kaboom in very short order. And, obviously, the rusher can’t solo the mission.
They’re the same ship class. I sure as hell don’t see a ‘Attack Most Important Ship’ order on my list. And ya know what I’ve also noticed? My ships are trigger-happy. I put in one cruiser on the same mission, and what happens? The weapons all fire at different ships. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen that, either, it happens in larger-scale fights as well, even when my ships are set to Co-operative and Vulture. If my target painter is locked onto a nearby ship, I do not expect the missile launchers on the same cruiser to be firing at another ship on the far side. What kinda goofballs do I have for captains anyways??
Put a weapon on the ‘tank’. Ships that don’t have a weapon, are lower priority to get shot at. I’m not sure if 10 weapons is higher priority than 1 weapon, but 0 weapons is definately low priority. I’ve often noticed flaming hulks left to limp around the battlefield, because all their weapons systems were knocked out (and the enemy didn’t have vulture orders, so moved on to more dangerous targets once this ship was disarmed)
ahh, misread the initial post, for some reason I thought it was just a big hunk of armour.
I just opened up the deployment for the tutorial mission, and I don’t see any fancy orders in there either, just the orders to attack fighters, frigates and cruisers. No protector, retaliate, cooperate or anything like that.
Perhaps the close in ship is just getting too close - bear in mind weapons have a ‘optimum range’, so even though it might be outside their minimum range, the sniper might be much closer to the optimum range. See what happens if you set the tank up to get closer, but not much closer, than the more fragile sniper. If it still doesn’t work, then it suggests that the ships are just a lot cleverer at picking out fragile but well armed targets than we thought…
If the sniper gets into attack range sooner than the rushing tank, it might be preferentially targeted by enemy ships with the retaliate, protector, or cooperate order set. Those orders would affect the targeting choices of the enemy ships, and if the sniper was shooting first, some combination of them could explain the situation you describe. Perhaps you can try again, setting up the deployment so that the sniper arrives at its attack range after the rushing tank has started to fight up close.
I will admit that target selection is somewhat mysterious in GSB right now. Perhaps cliffski will post something at some point describing some of the factors that are applied in the calculation, and more or less how they are weighed relative to each other (he’s said elsewhere that it is very complicated).
Just did a quick test. Something to know, my rusher is actually a combo shield/speed tank, it’s got two lvl II shields and two lvl III engines on it. It also out-damages my sniper when it’s at it’s ideal range, in terms of DPS, the catch being that the rusher has to be much closer. The sniper’s the design being tested, really.
Same setup, tutorial mission, one rusher, one sniper, both frigates. I ordered the rusher to be on a close escort (150) with the sniper. The enemy started popping a few shots at the rusher, but the moment the sniper got into their max range, that was their one and only target. Both of my ships had already begun firing, and the sniper’s missiles take time to actually damage. With this combination of factors, something is not right. The AI is playing favorites.
Is the rusher really fast? One of the factors that gunners use is their chance of hitting the enemy. if they know that they have a low chance of hitting the fast ship, due to speed, and a slower and easier target is in range, they can bias towards the ship they will actually hit. Gunners also track how many missed or useless shots hit a target, and will avoid constantly pummelling a lost cause. Could these two factors explain it?
One thing I can assure you of is there is no favouritism. AI and player owned ships use exactly the same code to select targets.
Speed would probably be it, then. Sniper’s not that fast, didn’t have to be… A complex, intelligent AI, whoda thunk? I’ve been gaming a long time, seen a metric ****-ton of AIs that cheated, subtle and obvious and everywhere inbetween. And of course, plenty of people who claimed the AI cheats didn’t happen. : / But in this case, the careful targeting makes sense, at least from the enemy’s perspective. I know I totally would’ve shot at the sniper in their position.
I’m still less certain about the friendly AI. Still seeing some rather bonehead moves. Tell me, if a ship is set to Retaliate and Vulture, and it was currently pounding on a dying enemy, would it change target if another enemy (same class) wandered into range and started firing? The reason I ask is because whenever this happens, the enemy that was dying suddenly isn’t, and is instead repairing it’s weapons so it can start firing again, and usually manages to get several shots off before the new enemy’s shields go down.
I’ve also seen the enemy AI do some fiendishly clever things, like bum rushing my basically unarmed and unshielded fighter repair cruiser at the rear of the fight. With a little experimentation, I can usually get my own ships to behave the same as the enemy though, and have the advantage of being able to re-fight my battles with a new set of weapons.